Vincent Lindon, president of the Cannes Film Festival jury: “It’s a unique gift”

3:00 p.m., May 16, 2022

Decidedly, Cannes brings him luck. After winning the performance award in 2015 for The law of the marketby Stéphane Brizé, and the Palme d’or last year alongside Julia Ducournau for Titanium
, Vincent Lindon will be the president of the jury for the 75th edition of the Festival. This well-informed cinephile and keen on statistics knows the rare other actors to have won the Cannes Grand Slam: Michèle Morgan, Gérard Depardieu and Sean Penn. For twelve days, he will experience cinema from morning to night with his international jury: actresses and directors Noomi Rapace, Rebecca Hall, Deepika Padukone, Jasmine Trinca and filmmakers Asghar Farhadi, Joachim Trier, Ladj Ly, Jeff Nichols.

The 62-year-old actor, who has just finished filming Tikkuna series by Xavier Giannoli for Canal+ inspired by the carbon tax fraud case, arrives today on the Croisette.

How does it feel to exercise the most prestigious position in cinema, in the biggest festival in the world?
A funny effect, a monstrous astonishment and an immeasurable pleasure. When I consult the list of those who preceded me, all these mythical names, it’s madness. It is a unique gift. If someone had said that to me when I was at Cours Florent, I wouldn’t have believed it. Destiny is like skylights in football, when the commentator says “it happened to that, if it was inside it was the same”. A career is worthless. Afterwards, you would have to ask Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux why they chose me. I imagine that there are things that fit together well: someone free, the interpretation prize in 2015, the fact that we want a committed French actor for the 75th birthday. Maybe it has something to do with the fate of Titanium Last year.

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The forecasts gave rather a woman. Asghar Farhadi was also widely approached before his conviction for plagiarism in Iran…
Honestly, I don’t really care if other names were mentioned. It’s like movies: they go to the actors who have to make them, first or eighth choice. I have a lot of ego but it’s not misplaced. I can be the third choice in love, I don’t mind as long as the other thinks he did well in the end. My life is just that: doing things as well as possible and making people happy.

With the jury, I want us to say at the end that we had a wonderful time together in cinema

In fact, your appointment may have come as a surprise because you are not well known internationally.
That’s what I thought, but with the platforms, the Anglo-Saxons consume a lot of French and European films, and they love it. Not if you ask a cowboy in Texas, but in movie-going circles in America’s metropolises, they know the actors. I’m not telling you that I’m Belmondo, but it’s not the same to be a French actor today as it was fifteen years ago. And then this year, With love and determination by Claire Denis [dans lequel il joue au côté de Juliette Binoche] was awarded in Berlin, Another world by Stéphane Brizé was in Venice. Titanium, The Law of the Market, Rodin, At War, Pater were presented at Cannes.

What kind of president will you be?
Listening to my comrades, whom I don’t know personally. We meet on Monday. I’m going to suggest things to them about how it works. I’m delighted to do this teamwork with these eight talented people, who have an opinion that’s worth mine, by far. Sometimes we won’t agree, that’s the interest and it will be exciting. A few days ago, I received a letter of congratulations from Robert Badinter. He explains that he advised his students who passed the judicial examination to be wary of themselves when they judge… With the jury, I want us to say to ourselves at the end that we spent together a wonderful moment of cinema. And that we deliver a good track record, with films that offer artistic novelty and attract people to theaters, such as Parasiteone of the last great Palmes d’Or.

And the English of the debates? You said in Reims that you were not comfortable in this language.
No, I said I wouldn’t sacrifice anything to go work in the United States, because the best you can hope for is to play a Frenchman in an American film. As for English, I have no problem. I will be able to say and hear specific things without fear of misunderstanding.

You have already been president of a jury at the Deauville American Film Festival in 2013. What memory?
I loved it. We met often, we didn’t always agree, but things fit together well. I like the idea that we can change our minds along the way. When you put off a film too much or have a crush, it’s always good to let it rest.

If we’re only looking for commitment, what’s left?Apocalypse Now or of Barton Fink ?

What movies are you looking forward to seeing?
I can’t tell the movies apart from the competition but I’m really curious about them all. Out of competition, I’ll go see Top Gun – Maverick. I’ve always loved Tom Cruise. He is the actor who runs the best in the cinema, always straight in his line! I don’t know if I will be able to meet him. There is one day left, he will have other people to see than me.

Will you be more sensitive to the political or social commitment of certain films and filmmakers?
I do not know. Care must be taken not to enter into these considerations. We’re just going to see movies at the biggest festival in the world. It’s not jargon. As an actor, I don’t accept a role just because it’s hired, I say yes to a script. If the film is not successful, the cause is forgotten. Sailor and Lula Where Taxi Driver were not committed films but they are masterpieces, rightly rewarded with a Palme d’or. There is no reason to sanction a film because it does not convey a universal political message. If we’re only looking for commitment, what’s left?Apocalypse Nowor of Barton Fink ?

How are you going to manage the extras, the dinners, the performance?
It’s very simple: I have my own costumes. I don’t belong to anyone and I have no obligations. Look, I don’t have an expensive watch on my wrist and I won’t. They can always approach me, I will refuse. I’ve never done advertising or fashion. I am in Cannes to see films.

What memories do you have of the Palme d’Or at Titaniumannounced by mistake by your predecessor Spike Lee at the start of the ceremony?
I didn’t hear it. Julia Ducournau yes, but she didn’t tell me. We are in a padded atmosphere, we hear nothing. In 2015, when the Coen brothers presented me with the acting award, I was in the west, it was someone next door who nudged me when he saw all the photographers turn to me. These are incredible moments. I loved doing Titanium and work with Julia. Reading the script, I knew it had to be.

In the thirty-five years that you have been coming to Cannes, have you had any decisive encounters there?
I remember Jude Law in 2011 after the presentation of Pater , by Alain Cavalier. He took me aside at a dinner party to tell me that he was a huge fan of the film. When I told him that we had really done it together with Alain, without technicians, he was like crazy, it made him want to. Us, it excites us to go and make a diehardor one James Bond.We always want what we don’t have

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Vincent Lindon, president of the Cannes Film Festival jury: “It’s a unique gift”